Young worker safety - advice for employers

by user






Young worker safety - advice for employers
ISSN 1681-2123
E u r o p e a n
A g e n c y
f o r
S a f e t y
a n d
H e a l t h
a t
W o r k
Young worker safety - advice for employers
Young people, under the age of 25, represent the next
generation of our workforce. Your role is to get them off to a safe
and productive start. As an employer, you have a responsibility
to make sure they work safely by providing a good health and
safety management system which protects everyone. This
factsheet provides advice on your role. Other factsheets cover
more details on legal requirements to protect young workers,
and advice for supervisors, for young people and for parents.
he was very dependent on his employer for supervision and
training but the garage owner left health and safety
arrangements to the common sense of employees…
Young people can be at particular risk because they lack experience,
training and awareness. They need good advice, information and
supervision as well as suitable, safe and healthy jobs.
In both cases the companies were investigated and fined for
their health and safety failings. Common causes of injury to
young workers are from doing jobs they are not trained to do,
inadequate supervision, and using dangerous machinery or
substances. According to Canadian research, new and young,
inexperienced workers are over five times more likely to be
injured during their first four weeks of employment than other
workers (1).
The results of bad practice
The benefits of good practice
A 17 year-old girl lost part of a finger only one hour after
starting her holiday job. Her fingers were crushed in a
machine at the bakery where she worked. The automatic
safety guard was faulty, the fault had previously been
reported but there was no planned maintenance programme,
she had not received proper training about the machine and
her supervisor was unaware that she was using the
An 18 year-old apprentice mechanic died 4 days after being
engulfed in flames; he was helping his manager empty a
mixture of petrol and diesel into a waste tank when the
petrol exploded. Learning the trade,
Apart from complying with the law, there are clear benefits from
paying attention to the health and safety of young workers.
> Good safety management is good for business and is a
feature of an efficiently run organisation.
Measures to keep young people safe will help protect all
By properly training and educating young people, you can
benefit from their energy, enthusiasm and willingness to
learn while keeping them safe on the job.
Good supervision will help you assess how young people are
getting on in the job and monitor the effectiveness of their
Your reputation as a good employer will help you to attract
good quality, young recruits.
Risk assessment, organisation and prevention
Employers must identify hazards and carry out a risk assessment
to determine the particular risks to young people and the
prevention measures needed (2). Risk assessments and the
measures and arrangements based on risk assessment should
therefore cover:
tasks young people must NOT do, clearly identifying
prohibitions on the use of specific equipment and specified
work processes, restricted areas, and activities that can only
be done under supervision;
supervision needs and arrangements (see ‘making
supervision arrangements’ below);
information, instruction and training needs and arrangements
(see ‘training’ below);
prevention of bullying and sexual harassment;
(1) http://www.iapa.ca/outreach_yw/yw_employer.asp
(2) A hazard is anything that could cause illness or injury. The risk is the likelihood of it happening. Most accidents involve a failure to assess risks properly or to take
action to control risks.
FAC T S 61
informing parents and guardians of risks and control
liaison with work experience placement and vocational
training organisers;
consultation with worker representatives and young workers
themselves over arrangements for young workers.
competencies required by supervisors and role;
training supervisors about their role and health and safety
issues when supervising young people;
numbers of suitably trained and competent supervisors, with
the names of those responsible for young people, including
trainees and work placement students;
reporting arrangements for supervisors to notify any
problems about young people’s safety.
f o r
If you offer work experience placements to young people, you
should provide them with at least the same health and safety
protection as you would give your own employees.
Leading by example
Employers must make proper arrangements for supervising
young people; for example, some employers assign mentors to
young people.
It is important that you demonstrate your own commitment to
health and safety, establish procedures and measures and keep
them up-to-date, emphasise that unsafe practices are
unacceptable and respond promptly to health and safety
how young people will be supervised, including the level of
supervision for different tasks, identifying work operations
which require constant supervision, and appointing
someone to have overall responsibility for young people;
what to do to protect themselves
what to do if they think something is unsafe
who to go to for advice
what to do in an emergency, if they have an accident, or if
they need first aid
their responsibilities to cooperate with you on safety
W o r k
Supervisors should be adequately trained about risks and
control measures connected with the work of young people,
and made aware of any restrictions on the tasks young people
can do. They need to understand their role, what is required of
them, and how to carry out their duties. They also need sufficient
time and the authority to carry out their supervisory tasks.
Arrangements should cover:
a t
Making supervision arrangements
H e a l t h
a n d
specific hazards related to their job
common hazards in the workplace generally
If you employ under-18 year-olds, including those on vocational
training and work experience placements and those doing
casual work while still at school or college, more specific
regulations apply covering restrictions regarding their exposure
to hazards and working hours. See factsheet ‘Protection for
young people in the workplace’ for more details of your duties
to protect workers and the special requirements for young
people. For the full requirements, check your national
S a f e t y
It is essential that young people receive effective health and
safety training before they start work, allocating sufficient time,
A g e n c y
arrangements to take account of any special requirements of
young people with disabilities or special needs;
E u r o p e a n
Further information on young worker safety is available from
the Agency website at http://ew2006.osha.eu.int/ Prevention
advice and links to good practice for specific risks and workplaces
are available at: http://osha.eu.int/ Sources of advice include
national authorities, trade unions and trade associations.
A link to the full text of Council Directive 94/33/EC on the
protection of young people at work is available at: http://
The directive sets minimum standards, so it is important to check
the full requirements of your national legislation and guidance:
More information on guidance for Great Britain available from
More information on legislation for Ireland is available at:
More information on legislation for Malta is available at:
© European Agency for Safety and Health at Work. Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged. Printed in Belgium, 2006
ht t p : //o sha.e u.int
European Agency for Safety and Health at Work
Gran Vía, 33, E-48009 Bilbao
Tel. (34) 944 79 43 60, fax (34) 944 79 43 83
E-mail: [email protected]
Fly UP